Project DOCC Houston uses the experiences of parents who have children with disabilities and chronic illnesses to teach pediatric resident physicians about the daily challenges faced by such families and how the residents can have a positive impact in the care of these children. I have been involved with this organization since 2004 as a parent teacher using the experience I have gained as the mother of a son who has autism. Project DOCC Houston works to improve the care that children with disabilities and chronic illnesses receive and supports their families. I have found it personally rewarding to take an experience (having a child with a disability) that some people view negatively and turning that into a positive learning experience that benefits other families and the pediatric medical community of Houston
I am the mother of a 20 year old son who has autism and is developmentally delayed. By participating in Project DOCC Houston I share the experiences I have had with him in health care settings with pediatric resident physicians to help them learn of the issues families like mine face. I have participated in home visits where the residents visit the homes of the volunteer families, parent interviews where the residents do an in-depth interview with the volunteer parent and the Grand Rounds panel presentation where 4or 5 parents present their stories to the class of residents and other healthcare professionals. I also help in the training of other volunteer parents and in the writing of grant proposals for the organization. I truly enjoy interacting with the residents although we are not always on the same wavelength and it is difficult at times to grasp how they are taking in what we are telling them. I also enjoy being a part of such a diverse group of parent volunteers and I am happy to be a resource to them since I have an older child.